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in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,415 - $43,790
Invoice: $26,855 - $39,981
MPG: 20 City / 25 Hwy
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Toyota Highlander Interior

The 2015 Toyota Highlander earns reviewer praise for its soft-touch cabin materials and premium-looking details, which include two-tone color schemes and intricate stitching on the dash panels. Test drivers are also pleased with the Highlander's family friendly features, abundance of small-item storage, comfortable seating and quiet cabin.

  • "The 2015 Toyota Highlander follows the company's latest design trends for its interior, and we definitely approve." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Hard plastics that were once the bane of the Highlander have since been supplanted by supple surfaces with fancy stitching at the seams." -- Edmunds
  • "In our interior evaluation, we gave the 2014 Highlander high marks for dashboard design and materials quality, especially compared to the previous model. Toyota clearly sweated the details this time around, and the result is a palpably premium environment, even in the lower trim levels." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Inside, the cabin is fitted with appealing materials in available two-tone color combinations, and many surfaces are padded." -- Consumer Guide (2014)
  • "Toyota has also improved the Highlander's noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) so that road and wind noise are minimal. It's a very pleasant, near-luxury experience. Honestly, if I was blindfolded and told I was behind the wheel of a Lexus crossover, I'd probably believe it." -- Autoblog (2014)

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Seating

The 2015 Highlander seats eight in three rows. Cloth seats are standard, while leatherette or leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row captain’s chairs are available. Auto journalists report that the Highlander's front- and second-row seats are comfortable and roomy. They add it is easy to access the third row by sliding the second row forward. Most agree that the third row isn't very comfortable for adults, but is plenty spacious for kids.

  • "If you're expecting big-time space in the way back, we should warn you that adults will still find it cramped relative to some rivals. Kids will be fine, though, and the three-across seating bolsters the Highlander's credentials as a minivan substitute." -- Edmunds
  • "Not only are the front seats comfortable, but there are numerous features that make life inside the Highlander easier." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Headroom and legroom are ample in the 1st and 2nd rows, the latter aided by seats that slide fore and aft about five inches. Getting in or out of either is easy due to a relatively low step-in height." -- Consumer Guide (2014)
  • "In back, the second-row seats slide forward farther than before, making third-row access appreciably easier. It's still pretty cramped back there for adults, but the new 3-across bench means you can carry an extra kid, if necessary." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The biggest gain is in the third row, where 3.3 inches of additional hip space allow Toyota to wedge in another passenger. … We maneuvered our five-foot, nine-inch frame back there, and the third row is indeed tolerable even for an adult, though for longer trips this row should be limited to younger children." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)

Interior Features

The Toyota Highlander comes standard with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port and Toyota's Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen. Options include a panoramic sunroof, navigation, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, an upgraded Entune system with an 8-inch touch screen, a rear-seat Blu-Ray entertainment system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. The Highlander is also available with a feature called Driver Easy Speak, which uses a microphone to project the driver's voice through the speakers to make it easier for rear rows to hear what you’re saying.

Test drivers say that the available version of Entune with the larger screen has a sharp display and works well, though a few comment that some of the system's touch buttons require multiple pushes. Others report that overall, the 2015 Highlander's audio, navigation and climate functions are easy to operate. Reviewers also appreciate the Highlander's family oriented features such as a conversation mirror and the Driver Easy Speak system for checking on and communicating with rear passengers.

See 2015 Toyota Highlander specs »

  • "A horizontal theme pervades, drawing your eyes from either end to the centralized multimedia screen. There, you'll find easy-to-use controls, including knobs for the main radio functions, and for the climate controls below them." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although the base 6.1-inch central touchscreen is, well, a bit basic in both form and function, the available 8-inch unit is more satisfying with its improved graphics and functionality." -- Edmunds
  • "My favorite new feature on the Highlander is Driver Easy Speak. When it's engaged, the driver's voice is projected through the speakers, allowing him or her to scream at the kids all the way in the back when they start putting food in each other's hair. It saves strain on one's vocal cords and really gets the message across to the little ones, especially if the vehicle is equipped with the optional JBL speakers." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "Still, the Toyota interface sometimes requires multiple touches to get the system to do what you want; once you adjust, it's easy to toggle through the screens for tasks like setting the navigation system. There are also plenty of old-fashioned, easy-to-use knobs for things like temperature control." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)
  • "It also gets the secondary rearview mirror to check on the kids, in addition to Driver Easy Speak, which allows the driver to talk through an amplifying microphone to the passengers in the last row. My co-driver and I had plenty of fun yelling at our imaginary kids: ‘Shut up back there or we'll turn this Highlander around!’" -- AutoWeek (2014)

Cargo

The 2015 Highlander offers 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, 42.3 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 83.7 cubic feet behind the front seats. A number of rivals offer more overall cargo capacity than the Highlander. However, reviewers appreciate that the opening height of the Highlander's available power liftgate can be adjusted, keeping the liftgate from hitting low-hanging ceilings or other obstructions. Many also note that the Highlander has an abundance of small-item storage in the cabin, including a large glovebox and center console.

  • "On the cargo-carrying front, the available height-adjustable power liftgate with memory height settings is a boon in garages with low ceilings. Maximum hauling capacity tops out at 83.7 cubic feet, which is an average figure for this class of vehicle." -- Edmunds
  • "Storage is terrific, with a good-size glovebox, a huge two-tiered console box, two cupholders and a forward console bin (the latter with USB/aux/12-volt jacks), a drop-down left-side bin, and a handy (and unusual) mid-level dash tray." -- Consumer Guide (2014)
  • "At least the third row can easily fold down in a 60/40 split and there's a one-touch power liftgate with selectable memory height settings, a super feature for people of shorter stature." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "Fifty-eight juice boxes can fit into the center console of the 2014 Toyota Highlander. If you filled every seat of the eight-passenger SUV, everyone could have seven drinks, with a couple left over." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)
Review Last Updated: 10/7/14

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